Sink or Swim. That's how I've been feeling for the last few weeks since school has started. I was feeling like the kids were always one step ahead of me, like I was running a marathon and coming in last place. I can say that I have survived the first month of school and I plan on never looking back. I definitely think I was well prepared as a first year teacher, but you can never be fully prepared. I wasn't anxious picking my kids up from the gym that first day. Going over rules and expectations didn't make me cringe. Actually, those things went quite well. Most of the mishaps were actually out of my control--the office didn't give me enough of the handouts for the class period I was handing them out in, and when a student went and asked for more, the school was all out of extras. That was poor planning on their behalf.
The things that have been weighing me down the most are the things they don't teach you in grad school. Oh, they made sureI had classroom management down-packed and they made sure I knew how to lesson plan and create inquiry based instruction, but what they didn't prepare me for were the constant meetings, paperwork beyond belief, and the 12 hour days: not because you have to, but because in order to survive you must.
I have meetings everyday, and I never have planning time at school because of these meetings: Monday is Team day, Tuesday is PLC day, Wednesday is Cluster (grade level) day, Thursday is Technology day, and Friday is an AWARE/ICU day. I began to wonder, who needs to talk this much? I need to plan, make copies, plan, grade papers, plan, e-mail parents (did I mention I need this time to plan?). I finally have a strong grasp on what is expected...and I'm making myself a schedule for after school. I feel that is going to keep me on track. Does anyone else have an afterschool schedule to get things done? What should I do on which days? It has been a huge blur but I'm feeling (slightly) better as time goes by. I think one of the best things happened today. I've noticed that the best parts of teaching are the little moments that take you by surpirse. Today, I had to arrange to have a substitute for a training I'm going to tomorrow.The sub e-mailed me tonight ( I teach her son) saying that she told him that she would be the substitute tomorrow. He then replied, Wow, mom, you'd better make learning fun for those kids, because Ms. Carr has to be the best teacher in the world. That e-mail, those words from one student, were the best gifts for me today! I hope someone is adding a little ray of sunshine to your day as a teacher. Lord knows, we deserve them.